Friday, March 23, 2012
When It's Hard
The tongue is a weapon. We use it to tear down and we use it to build up.
But I also want to be honest.
I have a child that is enormously hard to raise. Hard for me. Hard for him. We, him and me, bump ... a lot.
It might be that I am, ah-hem ... a bit controlling. And it might be that he is, well ... a bit hard to control. It might be that I have unreasonable expectations, and that I occasionally, sadly, label him 'the hard one' and 'the crazy one' and 'the loud one.' It might also be that he is truly, genetically, domineering--an emotional little man who wants to rule our roost.
In my bleak days, when I'm under attack, I associate it all with adoption. He is rebelling against me because I'm not his first mother. Or because she rejected him, he's rejecting me. I fight lies. It will always be this way. We will always be this way. But then I hear a girlfriend describing her biological child--how strong-willed he is and how much he tests her. It might just be who we are.
My issues. His issues. Put them together, and it doesn't always taste like lemonaide. But here is one truth that I cling to. God ordained us to one another. God chose me for him, and God chose him for me. Just like He would choose a birth child. We were given to each other by a God who knows what he's doing.
I think back to when He called us to adopt. When every fiber of my being believed that we were told by God to grow our family through adoption. When He miraculously provided the funds to make it happen. When He spoke to Bookguy with such clarity; we were convinced that not adopting was disobedience to what He was asking of us. I remember, and cling, because all of it was ordained by Him.
It's not not ordained when its hard. Or we play mind games that since something was so very easy, it means God was more 'for' it. When all the stars align and gates open and we walk through with comfort, we think God must want this for us. But then when its tough and we're tired and we have no strength left to keep engaging, keep fighting--we doubt.
And it isn't not love just because it's hard. Ask any mother who has a child that tests, who is strong-willed, or challenging. One of the ways we can know it's love is because we care so VERY much. We feel it acutely and work so very hard to engage, to resolve, to improve or redeem the brokenness in him and the brokenness in me.
I am not perfect. He is not perfect. In the words of Gary Thomas, "I can't be God to my kids, but I can model my need for God. Guilt has given me this gift."
But I have more days, far more days, where it is so clear that God is using my son every day still, not just during the adoption process and the post-placement, but every day to grow me into a better person. This is parenting.
"Consider how many times you have broken your promises once offered fervently and earnestly to God. Consider on how many occasions you have said or thought or even done vile things in full sight of a holy and perfect God. Consider God's eagerness to forgive you, the persistence of his grace, the limitless supply of his understanding and patience and mercy--all offered without condition on your behalf. Without difficult children, we might take this patience and mercy and forgiveness for granted. That's where difficult children become a rare gift--they show us a side of God we might otherwise miss." (Sacred Parenting, 150)
He is God's gift to me. I know it when it's easy and I know it when it's hard.